It’s a showdown in the cotton fields. Cloud confronts the Slave Quarter Killer and sets the perfect trap…but as per usual, other people keep getting in the way.
The Slave Quarters
Chapter 17 – Don’t Fear Me
By Rock Kitaro
Calvin and Jason arrive under the auspices of a full moon. They can see their own breath in the frosty cold air. All is quiet on the cotton fields. The crickets aren’t chirping. There isn’t any gospel music. No wind. No humming. No croaks from the big house. Just the packing of soil beneath their feet and the occasional chirp from the radios strapped to their shoulders.
An unsettled agitation creeps to their core. They know they’ve been had. They came responding to an emergency but the plantation seems devoid of all life. Even so, they feel as though they’re being watched. They are. Jason is scared out his mind. I can see it.
“Hey, son! I’m saying though. Ain’t nobody here,” he says.
“HELLO! IS ANYONE OUT THERE?” Calvin calls.
“Yo! Let’s go!” Jason begs.
The paramedics are snug in their dark blue coveralls. The ambulance is parked on the side of the road with the engine still running. With his red medicinal bag in one hand and a flashlight in the other, Calvin embarks in the direction of the slave quarters. Jason is right behind him but he keeps throwing wild-eyed glances to the big house. Calvin remains fixated on the slave quarters as if he expected a Doberman to come running out.
They’re waist deep in the middle of the cotton shrubs when Jason flinches and shines his light on the big house.
“Yo! You see that?” Jason whispers.
“There’s nobody in there.” Calvin says.
“I’m telling you. I saw something up on the second floor. Let’s get the fuck out of here, man!” Jason shrieks.
Calvin sweeps the field with his flashlight once more before heaving a heavy sigh and starting for the ambulance.
My voice cuts through the silence, clean, crisp, and clear.
They’re dropping f-bombs as they fumble with their flashlights. They cast their lights on the slave quarters and there, they see a new and improved version of Cloud Beaudry, one exuding with the swagger of a champion. My blazer is in the rental, parked further down the road. I’m wearing a bulletproof vest and there’s a .380 on my hip.
The sleeves of my white collared shirt are rolled up and if you think I’m freezing, think again. I’ve been practicing Wing Chun drills for the past two minutes. My chain punches, front kicks, and Ton Saus are on point.
The paramedics emerge from the cotton fields to enter the soft patch of soil in front of these here slave quarters. They look pissed. Reasonably so.
“You would be the one to call us out here in the middle of the goddamn night!” Jason snarls.
“Let me ask you something.” I begin, pausing for a moment to stretch out my neck. “1896 Drew Street. Ring any bells?”
They ponder for a moment. Then a bewilder expression befalls Jason.
“That’s my girl’s house, homie. How the fuck you know Kyrah?” he snaps.
I’m snickering out loud. I never snicker. After unclasping my watch and sliding it into my pocket, I lock eyes with the Slave Quarter Killer. He has no fucking clue.
“Sup, Calvin. You want to tell him. Or should I?”
“Man, whatchu talkin about?” Calvin says, as if I’m wasting his time.
“Not bad. Yes, your performance was very convincing. When we first met, I never thought for a second you’d be capable of stalking six teenage girls. Abducting them. Raping and molesting them until you’ve reached the pinnacle of pleasure. And then…Well you couldn’t let them go, could you? So you killed them. And you didn’t just kill them softly. They all died brutally. You could have just shot them. You could’ve slit their throats. Hell, for someone in the medical field, it would have been easy. But no! You bludgeoned them. You choked them. You drowned them, you unimaginable piece of shit. And perhaps the worst came when a girl felt so hopeless, so utterly defeated that she’d rather bash her own brains out than see your face again.”
Jason turns to his partner. He doesn’t believe me at first, but Calvin…He just stares at me with an empty gaze of morbid denial. I’ve seen that look before. It’s one of the worst feelings in the world. The realization that everything is caving in and there’s nothing he can do about it, like a submarine filling up with water.
“Hey, fuck you!” Jason shouts. “There you go again, pointing fingers. I heard ya’ll already caught the motherfuckuh who did this so why you messin with us?”
Calvin drops his red medical bag. It hits the dirt and I hear something break, prompting me to whip out my Glock and aim it at the bridge of his nose, both hands holding it steady.
“Don’t move a muscle!” I warn.
“Whoa! What the hell are you doing? I don’t believe this!” Jason shouts.
“Calvin Chalmers. You’re under arrest for the rape and murder of Tiquasia Payne. Denedra Harrell. Samantha Fox. Ashley Hunt. And Alisha Collier.”
“WHAT? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!” Jason screams.
“Tell him, Calvin! Tell him what you been up to every time you drop him off at his girl’s house. Go ahead. Ask him, Jason. I’ll wait.”
“Nigga…What is he talkin about?” Jason asks.
“He’s got nothing.” Calvin snarls. “Probably hit his head one too many times. Should have someone look at that, bruh.”
I’m smirking as I lower my weapon and take the finger off the trigger. “Just tell me one thing. What exactly did you say to KeNedra? If I’m not mistaken, once you boys picked her up, it was Jason doing the driving while you had her alone in the back cabin. She recognized you didn’t she. You must have told her something. So let’s hear it. I want to hear what the devil said to the angel. To get her to kill herself like that. SPEAK!”
Calvin shakes his head with a cocky grin. “Don’t know what you talking about. And to be honest, you starting to work my last nerve. Got us out here in the middle of the…”
“Look around! There’s no one out here but us. You don’t hear any sirens. No helicopters. No cops. Other than the three of us, not a single soul knows you’re an ass-raping murderer. I don’t give a damn about the justice system. We all know there’s no right or wrong, only public opinion. All I care about is closure for KeNedra’s family. If a coward like you met them, you’d break down on the spot. I can tell just by looking. You don’t have the balls. All reserved and hiding behind your silence. To be honest, I respected you more when you throwing hands in the big house. That was a warrior. That was a beast. Frankly, I don’t know who this scared little shit is.”
My words…they sting. I know they do. He’s grinding his teeth. He doesn’t know what I know or if he should even believe me, but there’s one thing he took away from my little speech. Other than the three of us, not a single soul knows he’s the Slave Quarter Killer.